Marsha Ambrosius: Late Nights & Early Mornings
Review by Ernest Barteldes
The former half of Floetic Soul (alongside the Floacist) took a different path on her own solo career. Instead of spoken word poetry, Ambrosius focuses on a conceptual form of neo-soul that includes songs with unexpected stops (“Your Hands”), short interludes and some clear influence from Latin music. The highly hummable “I Want You To Stay” goes into a great samba groove during the chorus, and the cover of Portishead’s “Sour Times” has a touch of bolero throughout the arrangement, which also includes some scratches courtesy of DJ Aktive.
The lead single is the vengeful “I Hope She Cheats On You With a Basketball Player,” but the album has many stronger moments, namely the gentle ballad “With You,” (co-written with Alicia Keys) and her very personal take on Lauryn Hill’s “Lose Myself.” Another great moment is the final track, the touching “The Break Up Song,” a Gospel-inflected tune that looks the end of a love affair through the point of view of someone who clearly cannot move on.
Late Nights & Early Mornings is a fine debut solo work that is cohesive and fun in spite of a few weaker moments. Definitely recommended for fans of European-spiced neo-soul (J Records)
Watch a video of “Far Away” here: